Out all season with bad knees, Andrew Bynum’s latest setback may be the one that finally ends his year.
Bynum admitted for the first time that he may not play for the Philadelphia 76ers because of swelling in his right knee. Bynum had been steadfast since training camp that he would eventually make his Sixers debut, even setting an All-Star break target date. Bynum backed off Friday because he still had swelling in his right knee from five-on-five drills last week. Bynum, an All-Star last season with the Lakers, refused to commit to a comeback.
“It’s getting really late,” he said. “I don’t know.”
Building around their 7-foot center, the Sixers (22-34) expected to contend for the Atlantic Division title and make a deep run in the playoffs.
Without him, they have lost seven in a row entering tonight’s game against Golden State and are well behind the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Not even Bynum could help them salvage a playoff berth now.
The 25-year-old is an unrestricted free agent and said he won’t be pressured into making a decision to play or sit out.
“I think being healthy is more important than everything else,” he said. “If I am healthy, I’ll get a deal. I have to be able to play and I need to get to the point with my body where I’m able to play, however long that takes.”
He won’t play for the Sixers until he is healthy.
“I don’t want to play in pain,” he said.
Bynum was shut down in training camp as a precaution and the Sixers originally hoped he’d be ready by opening night on Oct. 31. After some timetables came and went, the Sixers listed him as out indefinitely, while his own return dates for practice and games bounced around depending on his health.
“With the swelling, he’s made no progress,” coach Doug Collins said. “If you get swelling, that is a major concern.”
Bynum was acquired as part of a four-team trade that also saw the Sixers land Jason Richardson.
Richardson was shut down after 33 games with knee injuries.
Hornets lose Smith
New Orleans Hornets General Manager Dell Demps says 7-foot reserve forward and center Jason Smith will miss the rest of the season because of a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
Smith has played in 51 games this season, averaging 8.2 points and 3.6 rebounds in a little more than 17 minutes per game.
He’s shot 49 percent (167-for-341), giving him the third-best shooting percentage on the club. He is slated to have surgery early next week.
Locals make offer
The NBA received an official offer Friday from 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov and billionaire Ron Burkle to buy the Sacramento Kings and keep the team from moving to Seattle, league spokesman Tim Frank said. No financial details of the proposal have been released.
The NBA Board of Governors is expected to vote by mid-April on the Seattle bid. If the league blocks the deal, the Maloofs would still have to agree to sell the team to any potential buyers.
Jordan faces paternity suit
An Atlanta woman filed a paternity suit against former NBA star Michael Jordan, seeking child support and medical expenses, according to published reports. Pamela Smith said she is also willing to have him take a paternity test to prove the former Chicago Bulls player is the father of her 16-year-old son, according to TMZ, the first to report the lawsuit filed Feb. 6 in Fulton County.